Nourish

It’s the second word in my 2019 mantra. The dictionary defines the word as to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. What do you need to grow? What do you need for good physical and mental health?

Nourish is not just an act of providing food. Our hearts and minds need nourishment. Our soul needs nourishment. I’ll be reflecting on the word nourish and what it means to self care all month. Today I’m thinking about old fashioned Sunday dinners.

I miss Sunday family dinner. Growing up we went to my Grandma’s house every Sunday for dinner. My grandmother would make a pork roast, or a ham, or a roast chicken. She would fix all the classic sides – mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, stuffing, and she always had a dessert.

My Uncle and his family would drive from their home in Midland MI to my grandma’s home in Flint. My cousin would put her young children in the car and drive up from Indiana. The day began around noon. Grandma would make dinner. Grandpa would fall asleep in his recliner. The adults would play scrabble or Trivial pursuit. My cousins and I would color or sculpt with Play Doh. The house was warm and smelled wonderful. Dinner was delicious and when it was done and the dishes washed and put away we would all gather in the living room where Grandma would knit and Grandpa would sit in his chair next to hers and we would talk and laugh for a couple of hours. Then it was time to go home. There were lots of hugs and kisses goodbye. The goodbyes always hurt but the next Sunday we would do it all over again.

I miss Sunday dinner. I miss gathering with family and connecting. No cellphones or tablets. No to do lists. Just us gathered around board games and coloring books. Grandma’s dinner nourished our bodies, but connecting with each other, laughing, playing, talking, nourished our hearts.

My daughter and her cousins don’t know what that is. Sadly, Sunday family dinner has become a relic of the past. It’s an old photograph on the back of quaint greeting cards. Today families only gather around birthdays and big holidays, and when they do gather everyone has their face pointed downwards at a piece of technology.

Lately I’ve found myself craving an old fashioned Sunday dinner. Today I’m going to make a roast chicken. I’m marinating a chicken in apple juice. I’m going to stuff it with oranges and lemons and a bouquet of fresh herbs. I’m going to smear the skin with butter and season it with a poultry spice blend from the Alden Spice Shop in Alden, MI. I’m going to whip up a batch of mashed potatoes and some Stovetop stuffing. I’ll steam some corn and warm up some garlic dinner rolls. I’m going to set the table. I’m going to put my phone and iPad away for a couple of hours and make my daughter do the same. I’m going to pull out some coloring books and sit on the floor with her and connect. No distractions. After dinner we’ll eat a piece of the banana cream pie I made and watch a movie. We’ll laugh. We’ll talk. And I hope, we’ll start a new tradition.

My grandma was a wonderful cook, but her Sunday dinners were not wonderful because of her culinary skills. Those dinners were the best dinners of my life because they were cooked with love and served to a group of people who gathered intentionally to connect with one another. We need more of this in the world today.

What are you hungry for?

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